The Seattle Seahawks lost starting free safety Quandre Diggs with seconds left in the first quarter after a viscous helmet-to-helmet hit on New England Patriots receiver N’Keal Harry. It is a big loss for the Seahawks as Diggs is one of the Seahawks’ key defensive players.
The replays showed Diggs’ helmet colliding with Harry’s head which can sometimes simply be a personal foul. After a review, the NFL not only penalized the Seahawks but also ejected Diggs from the game. NBC’s Chris Collinsworth voiced his approval for the decision to eject Diggs noting that the NFL is trying to eliminate these kinds of plays from the game. USA Today’s Nancy Armour also described the ejection as the “right call.”
“Quandre Diggs ejected for that hit,” Armour tweeted. “Right call. He lowered his helmet on N’Keal Harry. No place in the game for that.”
Not everyone sees the decision as straight forward. NBC Sports Northwest’s Joe Fann voiced his surprise after Diggs was ejected.
“Quandre Diggs has been ejected for his personal foul. Wow,” Fann tweeted.
Here is a look at the controversial hit.
Diggs Was Replaced by Marquise Blair Before the Safety Was Injured
Diggs was initially replaced by Marquise Blair but the safety left the game early in the second quarter with a knee injury. Blair’s leg buckled after linebacker K.J. Wright was attempting a tackle but unfortunately mistakenly took out the Seahawks safety. The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar discussed the Seahawks’ initial plan given Diggs’ absence prior to Blair’s injury.
“With Quandre Diggs out — which is a big, big deal — Seattle probably about to throw Lano Hill in there at free safety so Marquise Blair can focus on nickel,” Dugar noted on Twitter.
The NFL Described Diggs’ Hit as ‘Forcibly Contacting the Defenseless Receiver’
The NFL officials quickly released a statement on the decision to both flag and eject Diggs. The league pointed to Diggs “forcibly contacting the defenseless receiver.”
“Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs was disqualified from #NEvsSEA for forcibly contacting the defenseless receiver in the neck and head area – this is a foul for both use of helmet and unnecessary roughness,” NFL Officiating explained on Twitter.
Pete Carroll on Diggs: ‘He’s Tough as Hell’
The Seahawks acquired Diggs in 2019 in a midseason trade with the Lions. Diggs immediately made his presence felt after arriving in Seattle and received reinforcements when the Seahawks traded for Jamal Adams prior to training camp. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll admitted Diggs lacks some of the physical tools of other safeties but noted he was “tough as hell.”
“He’s not the biggest, the fastest; he’s just a really good football player and he’s tough as hell,” Carroll explained, per USA Today. “It shows up in numbers of ways, it’s not just any one aspect. He’s playing well across the board; fitting in on the run, making his hits in the passing game, and defending the ball down the field. I think we’re lucky to have him.”